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The meaning of private in an age of surveillance


Bostock, WW, The meaning of private in an age of surveillance, World Journal of Social Science, 8, (1) pp. 67-74. ISSN 2329-9347 (2021) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2021 The Author This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (

DOI: doi:10.5430/wjss.v8n1p67


The private has great significance for the individual as it is where identity is stored. However, the private comes at a cost, particularly in a time of mass surveillance, which is heightened by the present Coronavirus pandemic, and is becoming more and more rare as individuals seek security. At the collective level, whole societies are moving towards privatisation, as the private gives relief from increased surveillance by media, governments and informed individuals and organisations, thus allowing more operational flexibility. Private and public are significant as polar ends of a spectrum in which individuals and collectivities must position themselves on a wide range of issues while maintaining identity. As shown in the case of airport privatisation, the determining process has been influenced by cultural factors such as a desire to avoid surveillance and scrutiny, sociological factors such as contagion, and political factors such as convergence. In all areas of human activity, a rebalancing between private and public may be necessary, and a transdisciplinary approach would be appropriate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:private, public, identity, surveillance, contagion, convergence, pandemic
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:International and comparative law
Research Field:Comparative law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Civics and citizenship
UTAS Author:Bostock, WW (Dr William Bostock)
ID Code:142751
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2021-02-10
Last Modified:2021-03-31
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